My Keyboard Is Sticky: One Blogger's Guide To The Confessional Memoir

25 September 2007
The thought has crossed my mind lately that I should write a confessional memoir. Confessional memoirs are taking over the world. Visit the Biography section of any generalist bookstore, and as many as half of the titles on the shelves will be confessional memoirs. Never having been one to blindly follow trends, I realise that in order to get ahead of things, I should have published my memoir ten years ago; the problem with this being that ten years ago, most of the juicy stuff I'd want to reveal to the public to boost sales reveal my inspiring journey to readers, hadn't happened yet.

Nonetheless, if I do decide to bare my venal soul to the reading public, I know exactly how I need to do it. These are the four elements you need to turn your confessional memoir into this year's Must Read Book:

1. An Intriguing Title

You need to grab the audience's attention as they stroll through the bookstore, so that they feel a warm inner glow that if they choose your volume, it is a Very Important Book. Best if this mentions a colour, an element or something meteorogical. (However, I think we can all agree that for a title, The Vermillion Tsunami is just too, too much). There's some more inspiration here.

2. A Subheading

This is much easier than the title. All you need to do is pick from the following options: One Man's/Woman's Journey Through/Tale Of Survival of (fill in the blank as it applies to your own personal circumstances).

3. The Cover Photo

Again, this is easy. It should be a sepia-toned picture of the writer as a toddler. If this isn't possible, then a stock photo of clouds, a single flower, or empty child-sized shoes (symbolising lost innocence, of course) will do.

4. A Quote From A Celebrity Reviewer

This needs to feature prominently on the cover. Find an actress who won Best Supporting Actress in the late 1980s and hasn't been heard of since, or an author whose sole writing career seems to be comprised of doing celebrity reviews, and get them to throw in a pithy quote about how your book changed their life. Make sure they don't spare the adjectives, whilst at the same time not actually saying anything. ("Stunningly evocative symbolism, this book is deeply, powerfully transcendent". Translation: "It faffs on a lot and I didn't really understand.")

Okay, now that you've got these four tickets to success, what do you actually write about? Whatever the hell you want. Just because you've written this year's "Must Read Book", doesn't mean anyone actually will. Sure, your tome will be discussed at dinner parties, but that will just be everyone praising you whilst hoping no one catches on that they haven't read your book either. Still, it can't help to insert a few titillating anecdotes for book reviewers to pick up on. This is where you get to have some fun. Myself, I'd write about my struggles with addiction (to cheese), my enormous emotional problems, and my steamy affairs with various celebrities.*

The last thing you'll need is to choose what pictures to go in your mid-book photo section. Get a good progression of photos of yourself as a cute little kid; an "awkward teenager" shot; pictures of yourself looking wretched during the "difficult times" that will form the bulk of your prose; and finish with an airbrushed photo of yourself looking vaugely tranquilised to show how you've finally arrived at a good place in your life.

No, Goddammit, I'm inspired now; I am going to write my memoir. Sure, I've shared all my best tips, but being nice, all I ask is that you give me a few day's headstart in the marketplace once I publish - a few days being all the time that any of these memoirs are actually remembered for.

*Dramatisation. May not have happened.


Post a Comment

Recent posts

Back to Top